Here’s Hoping Flores Gets Traded

It was two years ago next week when Wilmer Flores carved out a niche in Mets lore when he openly wept on the field after hearing a report he had been traded. Flores endeared himself to Mets fans everywhere that night because he showed the fans he was a player who genuinely wanted to play here.

How could you not cheer for a guy like that? How can you not cheer for a guy who showed such human emotions?

FLORES: The night he became a Mets' icon.  (AP)

FLORES: The night he became a Mets’ icon. (AP)

The trade to Milwaukee fell through and he remained in Queens, but his situation only briefly changed for the better regarding playing time. Off the field, there was still a shameful lack of respect from GM Sandy Alderson, who made him a butt of jokes on his stand up tour, and manager Terry Collins, who never trusted him enough to give him a position full-time.

However, in those moments when he did play – when Lucas Duda and David Wright were injured – Flores showed streaky power. He did so again yesterday with a pinch-hit homer in the win over St. Louis.

I always liked Flores, even before the tears, and openly advocated the Mets work him into a regular playing rotation. Now, I want the Mets to trade him. To Boston. To Houston. To Milwaukee, again. To any team where he’ll get a chance to play.

The Mets will soon move out Asdrubal Cabrera to make room for, and keep him away from, Amed Rosario. And, maybe they’ll trade Duda to make room for Dominic Smith. Neil Walker will soon be coming off the disabled list, and a midseason slump cost Flores his at-bats in favor of T.J. Rivera.

And, Flores? He’ll get moved to the bench where we won’t see him for ten more days. Collins never gave Flores a chance to work his way out of his slump; he wouldn’t work Flores into a rotation when all the infielders were coming off some kind of injury; he’ll bury him again.

Ken Davidoff, the talented baseball columnist for The New York Post, quoted a baseball scout on Flores and Rivera: “I like them more as fringe everyday players. Maybe guys you plug in for two weeks, or maybe even two months. But I wouldn’t be comfortable with them in a six-month situation for the full season.’’

That’s understandable because Flores has never been given more than a month to play. He tore things up earlier this season, then, like all players eventually do, tailed off. Hey, even Aaron Judge has cooled.

That’s the essence of a full baseball season. There will be stretches where everything falls in and others where even scorched balls are caught. His defense has never been good, but couldn’t that because he’s never been given a fulltime position? That’s the same way it was with Daniel Murphy.

Nobody knows what Flores can do for a full season because he’s never gotten the chance. Collins and Alderson put him in position where he’s always looking over his shoulder.

Flores can play adequately anywhere in the infield and has shown he can hit right-handed pitching. He can tear up lefties.

Flores was a valuable piece in the playoff runs of 2015 and 2016, and surely, can help a contender. Boston is in desperate need of a third baseman and the Yankees can still use a first baseman.

Flores can help either, but the hope here is he is traded by the deadline to a team that appreciates his value and will let him play.

Give him 550 at-bats before you tell me he can’t play.

 

7 thoughts on “Here’s Hoping Flores Gets Traded

  1. I gotta disagree John. I don’t see Flores has some poor victim. He’s had a good number of at bats here over the years and hasn’t shown himself to be a consistent bat. He’lll be great for a couple weeks then stink for twice that and then ends the year with mediocre numbers. And he’s been terrible on the left side of the infield. (He’s ok at 1b/2b but hasn’t deserved to play over Duda and Walker). I disagreed with the Mets handing Reyes the 3b job last year, but Flores has had plenty of time to try to distinguish himself and hasn’t. And the team certainly did favor Flores over Rivera for a long time given Wilmer was up in the majors for awhile as Rivera was stuck in the minors. I don’t know that we should make a big deal about a couple months worth of at bats, but TJ has been the more impressive player this year and deserved the starts he got.

    Wilmer is still young enough that he could eventually put it together, but it’s not as if he’s been given no chance here.

  2. I disagree with John Too. Flores has gotten plenty opportunity, but his defense is liability. So too his his lack of footspeed, although the former is the limiting issue.

    Flores would best fit in the A.L. as DH, or any league at first base. Everywhere else his slow feet , hands and excess long arm action are time wasters which in the big leagues make huge difference where fractions of seconds matter.

    All this plus his penchant for inaccurate throws, lack of range and quickness add up to part time player before we even address the bat.

    Now I don’t have a problem with his bat other than lack of opposite field home run power. Everything else is solid/or can be improved.

    I like Flores the person and hitting potential, but let’s not bury our heads in the sand and ignore the limitations of Flores’s overall game and make it the Mets fault or that Flores is victim of not enough playing time and warrants better treatment. He is what he is – a weak defender with no footspeed with lessor defensive tools and quickness than Daniel Murphy. Flores has gotten many opportunities to prove the defensive naysayers wrong – but he can’t because they’re right.

    If Flores is serious about improving, he should spend the offseason revising his throwing motion. That’s something he can and should do to get better and should have already done. Had he, he might already be penciled it to start at second base next season.

    • I’m with you both on Flores. He had his chances albeit not as much time that I think he deserved at times. It’s time he move on and we all just hope he’s not the next Murphy or Turner. I’m sure Sandy will be a bit hesitant in pulling the trigger on him or Rivera in the fear that the Murphy and Turner Syndrome may strike again. Flores will eventually get a chance to start and will hit his way to a full time job. This was his year to steal the job but the infield congestion and Terry’s short leash did him in.

  3. Right on John, I’ve been saying this for years. Give this guy a starting job and he’ll put up a 260/20/75 season.

  4. “…and manager Terry Collins, who never trusted him enough to give him a position full-time.”

    As well he shouldn’t. Flore has been barely better than a replacement level player in well over 1000 at bats, his defense always swallowing most of his limited offensive value.

    How can you write a baseball column and still lack even a rudimentary understanding of how we figure value on the field? Sweet Jaysus.

  5. Sounds very similar to sentiment that I remember hearing about a certain second baseman whom many said could not replicate what he did in the playoffs over a whole season. That turned out well, didn’t it?

    As in that case and as John noted above, Flores has never gotten the shot he should have. If you can give two plus months to Reyes playing horrible ball, an uninterrupted six weeks should have been given to Flores at some point. The season is long and players do have ups and downs, but you cannot adequately judge based on two week showcases at a time.

    After Flores joins the Murphy-Turner all-star former Mets club, then perhaps we can run some other young, gritty player out of town.

  6. Wilmer seems to be a good hitter who does not have a position. Considering our team historically can’t hit it would be a shame to let go of a player that plays the infield with a good bat. Yes. He is terrible in the field but the gm has repeatedly shown a disdain for defense as when he anointed Wilmer the starting shortstop position when the team years ago moved him off short because he can’t play there.